Change the Name of Sibley Park!

Change the Name of Sibley Park!

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6th graders at Sanford Middle School started this petition to Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board

"My heart is steeled against them, and if I have the means, and can catch them, I will sweep them with the besom of death." - Henry Sibley

We are a group of students from Sanford Middle School in Minneapolis Public Schools. We believe that Henry Sibley is not an appropriate namesake for a public park. The park board should vote to change the name to a more respectful name that honors the Dakota people and the values of our community. We will bring these concerns to the Park Board meeting on March 27th at 5:00pm.

Henry Sibley along with Alexander Ramsey and Stephen Riggs, cheated many Dakota people by being one of the signers of the Treaty of 1851 Traverse De Sioux. The treaty of Traverse De Sioux, between the Dakota and US government officials, fur traders, and missionaries was supposed to create a system of annual payments to Dakota. Instead, Sibley and government officials cheated the Dakota by tricking them into signing an agreement stating that annual payments to the Dakota for their land who go to fur trade “debts”.

10 years later, the Dakota were starving. Annual payments guaranteed by the treaty were repeatedly late and traders refused to sell Dakota food without payment. Dakota rose up in anger, killing settlers. Sibley led 1,600 well armed men to war, and won. Later he took 303 dakota men to court, but it was a court in name only. No lawyers were present. The judges were US army officers. It took him 39 days to get the court to sentence the 303 men to death. After reviewing the case, President Abraham Lincoln approved the execution of 38 Dakota warriors. On the morning of Dec. 26 1862, these men were hanged in the largest mass execution in US history.

The remaning Dakota were forced to a concentration camp at Ft. Snelling. After a terrible winter, 130 died. In the Spring, the remaining 1300 Dakota were forced out the state of Minnesota to a reservation on Crow Creek in South Dakota.We should not name our park after a man who cheated, mistreated, and helped people kill other people. Similar to recent choices to change the name of Ramsey Middle School to Justice Page Middle School, we are asking and hoping that the Park Board will consider changing the name of Sibley Park in Standish to a more respectful name considering the history of our state.

Sincerely,

Sanford Middle School Students 

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